Monday, February 13, 2012

Rented Heroes, Sarchasm

“Deeper” / “While You Were Away”
* * * 1/2 / * *
On early Rented Heroes recordings, Cindy Labota and Izzy Cordova often sound like they’re sitting together on a soft bed or a bench in some beautiful park, gently whispering to each other. However, on the two tracks they recorded at Different Fur Studios in San Francisco, the real-life couple seem comparatively detached from each other, as if they are in different rooms. This disconnect creates a great effect on the frustrated-lover ballad “Deeper,” on which Labota sounds as if she is standing alone in an empty room after her boyfriend walked out. “While You Were Away,” on the other hand, does not benefit from the studio production at all and is considerably inferior to the original version, which is more harmonically interesting and more effective in its gradual build from acoustic to electric (as opposed to the electric guitar being introduced immediately in the studio version).
* * * 1/2

Berkeley punk trio Sarchasm claims to take a “ridiculous amount of influence” from grunge and ska. A band less “ridiculously” influenced by these genres might have a few vaguely grungy songs and a few ska-ish ones, but on “Trains,” the lead single from their upcoming album We Interrupt This Broadcast, the band gleefully mashes the styles together. “Trains” kicks off with a brooding, grungy intro and explodes into a Descendents-style web of eighth-note bass runs and guitar thrash, fitting in a brief ska-ish section somewhere along the way. It’s an epic, though it doesn’t necessarily need to be--the extra minute or so after the ska segment is hardly necessary. But that crazy bass is irresistible, and Mari Campos’ voice--which sounds more like that of a very frustrated pre-teen boy than that of a teenager--is a powerful tool whose firepower is harnessed well.